Aer Lingus touches down at MSP

On Monday, July 1, MSP Airport welcomed the first nonstop flights between MSP and Dublin, via Aer Lingus, the national airline of Ireland.

“Air service to Dublin represents a win for both our airport and our regional business partners,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). “We want to make this relationship with Aer Lingus not only last – but grow into the future.”

Rick King, the newly appointed chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and co-chair of the Regional Air Service Partnership, said the business community helped “crystalize the demand” for international travel when it pooled its data to quantify business travelers’ needs.

The Twin Cities is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies and many operate globally. Medtronic recently moved its headquarters to Dublin from Minneapolis and Boston Scientific has significant operations in Ireland. And with Minnesota’s sizable Irish community – about 10 to 12 percent of the total population – leisure travel is important as well.

“This is a good market for us because of the great business environment,” said Bill Byrne, vice president of Global Sales for Aer Lingus. “But it’s also a good market for us because of the strong Irish community here.”

Byrne said travelers won’t be disappointed.

“There’s only one airline that will give you that Irish welcome.”

The event was celebrated with both Irish dancers in the Airport Mall at Terminal 1 and an event at the gate where those gathered to mark the historic occasion burst into applause when the green aircraft – emblazoned with the airline’s signature shamrock – touched down.

Even the aircraft’s chief pilot, Con Murphy, acknowledged the occasion by photographing the spectacular Dublin and Twin Cities-themed cake, created just for the occasion, and later animatedly describing the maiden flight over Greenland, Hudson’s Bay and along the north shore of Lake Superior before arriving at MSP.

The MSP-Dublin route marks the third nonstop international route to arrive this year at MSP, following earlier nonstop connections via Delta Air Lines to Seoul, South Korea, and Mexico City.